How our gardens grow!

Resident Bridget at Abbey View in Sherborne with a colourful planter.

From cute carrots to beautiful beans, and radiant roses to delightful daffs, a bumper crop of entries energised our second annual produce show.

Residents at all our homes took part in our second produce show, planting and tending the growth of a dizzying array of fruit, veg, flowers and shrubs.

Working with our gardeners and Companions, residents spent many happy and relaxing hours embracing the outdoors to complete their entries.

As well as produce growing, they made and decorated garden baskets, recycled spare items and materials as planters, built wildlife havens, painted pictures, did creative writing and baked garden-themed cakes.

To beat the challenges of Covid, entries were photographed, logged and uploaded to a central image library for judging rather than being physically presented.

Our Poole dementia care home The Aldbury triumphed as overall winner with Braemar Lodge in Salisbury and Lymington dementia home Linden House both runners-up.

Pip Smith, a resident at The Aldbury, said: “It’s great that we won, as we all helped. We had great fun getting stuck into all the projects for each category. The garden is my favourite place. It’s where we spent most time on our entries, and Brett, the gardener, had us belly laughing with jokes throughout each activity.”

Sharing a laugh during a garden-themed bake off at Braemar Lodge in Salisbury is resident Betty Winter.

Tracey Aldin, The Aldbury Home Manager, said: “Everyone worked so hard on this. The residents thoroughly enjoyed taking part in various activities to produce the final results. A huge thank-you goes to the Companionship team for their dedication and hard work.

Charles Hubberstey, our Head Gardener, said: “While Covid restrictions meant it was more difficult to keep track of individual homes’ progress, and of course meant we had to rejig our judging process, I would say the quality, imagination and breadth of thinking behind this year’s entries even surpassed 2019.

“There was some very creative artistry on display from residents who clearly have many skills. Covid certainly didn’t dampen the creativity. On the contrary, blessed with some glorious spring and summer weather, residents really got into this with good humour and bags of energy. It just goes to show that care homes can offer a real rejuvenation of activity and fun that wouldn’t necessarily be possible for older people living on their own.

“Another fantastic thing about this year’s show was that both the winner and one of the runners-up are dedicated dementia care homes. It’s fair to say that many of our residents, and perhaps especially those in dementia care, have found our gardens to be sanctuaries of peace and freedom during lockdown.

“Gardening and being among the joys of nature, from the riot of colour you see in flowering plants to the sound of birdsong and bees, is widely accepted as being a tonic for the body and mind. We asked each home to create a scrapbook about how they had put their entries together and every one is a testament to the fun people had.”

Watch the video

videocameraWe made a film of our second produce show which you can watch on our YouTube channel www.youtube.com/ColtenCare

CORNUCOPIA: With a garden basket of fruit, veg and flowers at Braemar Lodge are resident Iris Stowell and gardener Lesley King.

Residents and staff at The Aldbury in Poole celebrate winning this year’s produce show.

Resident Lesley at Court Lodge in Lymington with lettuces she planted.

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